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Kelowna neighbourhood could see new multi-storey housing unit for seniors

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A longstanding vacant lot in Kelowna’s South Pandosy area could soon be the site of a substantial new development.

The parcel of land at the corner of KLO and Lakeshore roads has sat empty for more than a decade.

But now PARC Retirement Living is hoping that city council will give the go-ahead for a nine-storey housing unit for seniors.

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“We want to be part of the community. It is absolutely the perfect place for a senior’s residence,” Margaret Lucas, PARC’s executive director of business development, told Global News.

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Lucas says the company’s plans include two storeys of mixed-used commercial space with seven storeys of independent living and seniors rental housing.

Lucas says the building will be a positive addition to the South Pandosy streetscape.

“It gives vibrancy on the street, so you have people coming and going out of that versus it just being a dead block,” said Lucas.

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However, PARC’s plan of nine storeys is five too many for the area, so the company will be asking Kelowna city council for a zoning bylaw variance.

According to Lucas, getting that variance is paramount; otherwise, the project will not be financially feasible.

“We’ve got to keep the costs competitive so to be able to do that at five storeys is just not economically viable,” Lucas said.

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Kelowna city staff will recommend that council green light the nine-storey development proposal.

“Staff feel that little bit of extra height is warranted,” said Ryan Smith, the city’s director of planning and development services.

Smith also said the building has the potential to improve the area.

“We have a vacant site today that really doesn’t give much back to the South Pandosy village center,” said Smith.

“If this site gets built, you’re going to have a frontage with active retail, with coffee shops and maybe a book shop, or something that really gives back to that area.”

PARC’s development proposal will go before city council on Nov. 17.

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